Super Bowl Vote: NFL Owners Vote To Give '16, '17 Games To Santa Clara, Houston
NFL owners yesterday voted to host Super Bowl L in '16 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, while Reliant Stadium in Houston will host Super Bowl LI in '17 (NFL). In San Jose, Mike Rosenberg in a front-page piece reports although the "exact vote tally is kept secret, the Bay Area became the first region in eight years to win a Super Bowl hosting gig during the first round of NFL owners' votes, which require a three-fourths majority." The vote was "widely expected since the only other competition, South Florida, saw its bid fizzle in recent weeks" after the Florida Legislature declined to place on the ballot a $350M measure to renovate Sun Life Stadium. NFL Senior VP/Events Frank Supovitz said that the league was "particularly impressed with the heavyweight Silicon Valley companies that came on board and the pledge to donate 25 percent of the money raised toward local charities." That says "nothing of the Bay Area's plan for a free, two-weekend 'Super Bowl City' event" around S.F.'s Embarcadero district. Both Supovitz and 49ers CEO Jed York "alluded to the symmetry of playing the NFL's 50th anniversary game in the California," which hosted the first Super Bowl in L.A. in '67 (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22). Bay Area Super Bowl Bid Committee members said that the game and its affiliated events “will be a boon for the region, attracting visitors who will roam from Napa to Carmel, filling hotel rooms and frequenting businesses.” In S.F., John Cote in a front-page piece reports while the game will be played in Santa Clara, many of the lead-up events “will be held in San Francisco." The bid committee yesterday announced that it will partner with Boston Consulting Group's S.F. office to "establish a host committee with staff, a CEO and board of directors to run day-to-day operations and likely set up offices” in S.F. and the South Bay. Their task will “include figuring out the logistics of moving around thousands of people and coordinating the numerous Super Bowl-related events” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/22).
SETTING THE BAR HIGH: NFL Network's Albert Breer reported the decision to give Levi's Stadium Super Bowl L is about "trying to set the stage for the next 50 Super Bowls." This game will be the "most technologically advanced Super Bowl ever in the most technologically advanced stadium ever built for an NFL team." Levi's Stadium is a "beacon of the future for the NFL" ("NFL Total Access," NFLN, 5/21). NFL Network's Eric Davis said, “After coming to Santa Clara, with all the whistles and bells and all the technology that’s going to be in this stadium, that’s what they’re going to be looking for. The bar’s going to be set even higher. It’s going to be even more difficult for Miami or any other city that doesn’t have an up-to-date stadium” ("NFL AM, NFLN, 5/22). CSNBAYAREA.com’s Matt Maiocco noted Levi's Stadium will be able to “provide wireless connections for the 75,000 fans expected to attend Super Bowl L,” as there will be a “green room and solar panels that will provide all the power needed for games.” Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said, "It's an innovative stadium. Personally, I love San Francisco. It's like Boston. It's like a European city. I love being there. I think it's really classy” (CSNBAYAREA.com, 5/21).
DOWN BY THE BAY: In San Jose, Mark Purdy notes the winning bid is “a watershed moment for the way people look at sports in Northern California.” Fans can “primarily credit" York and bid chair Daniel Lurie, "who had promised the project would involve as many area codes as possible.” But S.F. Mayor Ed Lee and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews also “from the start decided not to have an attitude.” They even invited San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed “into the mix of planning, realizing that the Bay Area's largest city was going to be needed for pulling together such a large project” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22). In S.F., Ann Killion writes York and the bid committee “should get tremendous kudos,” as they have “built a stadium and won the right to host a Super Bowl, something it seemed may never happen again here” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/22). ESPN.com’s Mike Sando wrote the winning bid is “another sign of progress for the team” under York (ESPN.com, 5/21). A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial states, “It's also a terrific example of what regional collaboration can accomplish. From San Jose to San Francisco, political, civic and business leaders pulled together to make it happen. Can an Olympics bid be far behind?” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/22).
HOUSTON, WE HAVE LIFT OFF: In Houston, John McClain reported Houston will make Super Bowl LI “a 10-day experience and invite fans from Mexico, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Beaumont to come early and party hardy downtown at Discovery Green and take advantage of the NFL Experience in the George R. Brown Convention Center.” South Florida politicians “fumbling its bid obviously played a significant role in Houston winning.” But Houston also “had an outstanding bid committee that was backed by dedicated business leaders and politicians like mayor Annise Parker and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.” The NFL and team owners were “impressed with Houston showing it wants to set a standard for host cities.” Texans Owner Bob McNair “pointed out that Houston plans to reach out to Mexico in an attempt to lure more fans.” The Discovery Green area -- from Minute Maid Park to the Toyota Center -- is going to be called “Super Bowl El Centro” as officials “hope to attract close to 500,000 to the area over the 10-day period” (CHRON.com, 5/21). Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said, “The presentation was one of the best I’ve ever seen. They talked about what football meant to Texas. The other thing is that Bob McNair came into the league as maybe one of the top four or five owners and has probably elevated himself up to the best one.” Kraft said, “There was a certain goodwill factor for Bob McNair and what he means to the league” (CHRON.com, 5/21). NFL Network's Desmond Purnell reported the unique thing about Houston's bid "was their plan to make Super Bowl LI the first international Super Bowl ever." Purnell: "They're hoping to attract more than 3 million national and international visitors" ("NFL Total Access," NFLN, 5/21).
DO THE EVOLUTION: In Houston, Randy Harvey in a front-page piece writes Houston “didn't win the vote because of a scoreboard.” Rather, Houston Super Bowl Bid Committee Chair Ric Campo said it won because Houston has “evolved into a very cosmopolitan city.” Houston “represents the present,” and Miami lost both votes “because all it had to sell was the past” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/22). But Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said Houston was "in the right place at the right time," as they were going against the Miami bid "at a time when Miami just couldn't win." Florio: "Any city versus Miami for Super Bowl LI was going to beat Miami" ("PFT," NBC Sports Network, 5/21).
SAVE THE DATE? YAHOO SPORTS’ Jason Cole noted the NFL did not "attach an exact date to either one of those games” in their announcements yesterday. Both organizing groups are “preparing for the game to be on one of the first three Sundays in February in 2016 and 2017, respectively” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/21).